I wrote earlier that there were signs that Google was increasing its index size. More signs are coming now -- as well as more chatter about a major update overall, at least in terms of link counts and counts of pages spotted by those on search forums.
The usual complaints over lost rankings and search result listing changes are largely quiet compared to normal. Barry did an earlier post about backlink and PR updates being seen and discussed at various forums. WebmasterWorld has a fresh thread up at Update Gilligan Google Upate Sept 2005. Our own fresh thread is here: Sept. 2005 Google Index Update & Size Increase Coming?
So much for getting a "weather report" ahead of coming changes, it seems.
Need further proof? Until recently, a query for "the" was bringing back around 3 billion or 5 billion matches (I can't recall off hand, but it was well below the 8 billion pages claimed in the Google index). Today, Eric Baillargeon notes how the brings back "about 8,000,000,000" pages. The Google home page reports, "Searching 8,168,684,336 pages."
So either only 168 million of those pages don't include the word "the" or something screwy is going on.